New Thorvald platform reduces labour risk and provides significant sustainability benefits
X July 2020, London, UK: ADM Capital Europe, the London-based private equity firm, has announced that its Cibus Enterprise Fund has acquired a 11.7% stake in the Norwegian agricultural robotics company, Saga Robotics. Saga is the first to commercialise the UV treatment of mildew, a fungus that can have a devastating impact on commercial crops, using a fully automated, modular and autonomous robot, the Thorvald platform.
The initial application of the platform will focus on strawberries, where mildew damage typically costs 2-5% of yield annually, although major outbreaks can be catastrophic for a field (20%+), and will be extended to other high value crops including grape vines, cucumbers and tomatoes. The robotic platform can be readily adapted to procure field data, logistics and precision spraying. Saga is also developing a robotic strawberry harvester which is expected to be in commercial production in 2022.
Cibus Enterprise Fund aims to take advantage of investment opportunities arising from global demographic changes, adoption of improved diets and the inability of many of the world’s fastest growing economies to meet increasing regional demand for certain high-value foods. It looks to invest into game-changing technologies that will improve the efficiency of agriculture and food production, thereby enabling the world to grow more food sustainably and of better quality.
The need to reduce dependence on the use of labour in horticulture has been driving the demand for the development of mechanised harvesting solutions. However, most robotics technology remains several years away from commercialisation. Saga has taken the lead in developing and commercialising its Thorvald technology, with the aim of reducing labour risks, delivering improved efficiency and offering significant sustainability benefits.
The platform is five to ten times lighter than any traditional farm tractor, thus reducing soil compression, which benefits plant yields thereby reducing the amount of fertilizers and water needed. It is electronically driven and does not emit any CO2 or other pollutants during operation. The precision farming enabled by Thorvald can reduce costs associated with pesticide and fertilizer use, improve yields and provides data to further optimise farming operations. It also reduces waste resulting from unharvested ripe fruits due to lack of labour.
Commenting, Alastair Cooper, Head of Venture Investments at ADM Capital Europe said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need to advance the use of robotics in agriculture, as technology will play an increasing part in reducing labour risk in the harvesting process. Cibus Enterprise Fund is excited to add Saga Robotics to its growing portfolio of sustainable agri-foodtech investments.
“Saga’s robots improve sustainability in farming by reducing soil compression, CO2 emissions, and production losses due to mildew. Using precision farming technology, Saga reduces pesticide and fungicide use and increases plant yields. With quality data applications we will start to see greater actionable intelligence provided to farmers.”
For further information, please contact:
Clare Anderson, 07958 665 883
ADM Capital Europe LLP
Tel: 0203 155 1980
About ADM Capital
ADM Capital is a Hong Kong and London-based private credit and private equity fund manager and adviser. Founded in 1998, ADM Capital manages or advises USD 2.4bn across a range of funds. With over 45 people operating out of 4 international offices ADM Capital manages closed-ended and open-ended funds and managed accounts. With its long track record, and expertise in Asia, ADM Capital focuses on off-market private transactions accessed via its extensive, proprietary network. ADM Capital launched Cibus Enterprise Fund in 2019, focussed on investing growth capital into sustainably run, global food and agriculture companies.
About the Cibus Enterprise Fund
The Cibus Enterprise Fund has a global mandate to invest in late-stage venture companies in the agri-technology sector. The Fund sees significant investment opportunities presented by global demographic changes, shifting consumption patterns and the inability of the world’s fastest growing economies to meet rapidly increasing regional demand for high-value foods. Cibus targets companies with strong management teams that are active in one or more stages of high-value food chains and looks for companies that are established category champions with a demonstrable technological advantage. Investments are evaluated on their environmental sustainability as a key determinant of value creation.
In October 2018, The Cibus Fund was the first fund to be given ‘Guernsey Green Fund’ status by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. The Guernsey Financial Services Commission launched the Guernsey Green Fund in July 2018 and it is only awarded to those funds which meet strict eligibility criteria designed to reassure investors that funds are invested in line with appropriate environmental standards. Cibus has been granted this status in recognition of the fact it regards environmental sustainability as a key determinant of value creation.
Legal References and Disclaimer:
References herein to “Cibus Enterprise Fund” or “Cibus” are references to Cibus Enterprise Fund LP managed by Cibus Investments Limited and advised by ADM Capital Europe LLP. References to “ADM Capital Europe” are to ADM Capital Europe LLP and references to “ADM Capital” are to the ADM Capital Group comprising ADM Capital Europe and ADM Capital HK. Those members and employees of ADM Capital Europe LLP who are involved in advising the Cibus Funds are referred to as the “Cibus Team”. References to “Saga”, “Saga Robotics” or the “Company” are to Saga Robotics AS. This release does not constitute an offer to subscribe for Cibus or any other fund managed by Cibus Investments Limited.